Foursquare Gets $15M And Licensing Deal From Microsoft To Power Location Context For Windows And Mobile

foursquare-msft Today, Foursquare is announcing that it has received $15 million in funding as a result of a partnership with Microsoft. The deal will see Foursquare contributing to the Bing platform’s location and context layers on both Windows 8 and Windows Phone. Read More

4 Businesses Winning With Mobile Advertising

8331105136_7104fa9d87_b
Feed-twFeed-fb

With 17.4% of web traffic coming directly from mobile this year alone, a 6% uptick since 2012, it's no wonder that more and more companies are developing smart mobile advertising strategies to increase brand awareness.

To account for this push toward mobile, forecasts predict that for 2013, digital ad spending will eat up 22.7% of all ad spending. And those dollars aren't spent in vain, at least not for these four companies, each of which utilize mobile ad platforms to target their customers and expand their clientele. And with the arrival of Pinterest's Promoted Pins and Instagram Ads, small businesses will have more ways than ever to attract audiences. Read more...

More about Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords, Mobile Advertising, and Foursquare

Foursquare Redesigns Its Venue Pages For The Web To Capitalize On Its 50M Monthly Unique Visitors

Screenshot_4_22_13_8_44_PM

Foursquare today launched redesigned venue pages to focus on its Explore and Discover functionality, bringing them more in line with its homepage. The changes, which come two weeks after the company raised another round of funding and released an updated iOS app, are designed to capitalize on the traffic that Foursquare gets from Google, which has doubled the site’s traffic over the past year. This is an important play for Foursquare, as it’s competing with Google Local, Yelp and Facebook, which today launched its redesign for local business pages.

Foursquare’s lead engineer for the web, Mike Singleton, told me that the site now gets over 50 million unique visitors on the web, which is 17 million more than actually use its app. That means that Foursquare is quietly breaking through as a place for information about venues, its most prized asset:

People are coming from Google for different reasons, we needed to give them the information they needed at a glance, which was difficult.

Since focusing on its Explore functionality, Singleton says that its usage has doubled, especially on the website. The new venue page has all of the information that people need in a quick glance, the pages are more visually appealing, and owners of the venues should be proud to show them off, perhaps by linking to them on their website over competitors like Yelp.

Here’s a look at what a venue page looked like before today’s launch:

You’ll notice that some of the more attractive content, such as photos, are pushed way down, putting more focus on the map. Additionally, information such as when the venue is open was shoved to the right-hand side, requiring a scroll, as well as someone’s eyes actually finding them. This redesign solves that.

The new design is cleaner, and brings all of the information that Google searchers would want to see immediately, such as photos of the venue and a more attractive map. Since some of the people visiting from the web might not be app users, Foursquare wants to give them a better first impression of the service by populating the page with the info that’s needed to make quick decisions, such as whether to actually go to a place for dinner or not. By being able to search through tips, you could find information about a particular meal, rather than continually clicking “next” buttons to scan all tips.

Naturally, Foursquare wants this page to attract new users. Logging in tells you which of your friends have visited the venue you’re looking at, so that part of the page has been given a special treatment as well. Foursquare is now also recommending places to go to after you’ve visited, such as a nearby park or a place to have a nightcap. This is another example of the company leveraging every bit of information that it has captured since its launch.

By freshening up its looks on the web, Foursquare is hoping to grab more traffic and become a true destination for information about places close to you, whether you ever actually download the app and check in or not. If Foursquare can turn its 50 million monthly visitors into more app users, then the cycle of generating more useful data will continue. That’s an if, but these pages are a huge upgrade and beg to be interacted with.

Are web-based ads on the horizon? Foursquare certainly has enough data to start serving them on their own, and others’, sites.


Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare Apps Available on BlackBerry 10

A number of big-name social apps launched alongside BlackBerry 10 Wednesday, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and LinkedIn.

Shown off during one of the company’s BlackBerry Jam sessions late last year, the Facebook app offers much of the same features you find in its iOS and Android applications and looks exceptionally similar to the current iOS version of the app.

Drop-down menus from the top of the screen offer access to your notifications, friend requests and messages. The app takes advantage of BB10’s “Peek” feature, so you can view a photo full screen, and then slide the image to the right to take a peek at your timeline before returning to the photo.

Social Media Eye for the Small Business Guy: A Chicago Butcher Gets a Makeover

The following is the first in Mashable's "Social Media Eye for the Small Business Guy" series, which will look at how small businesses navigate social media marketing. If you're a social media consultant or a small business owner looking to take part in future installments, please contact us on our Mashable Business Facebook Page.

If you ever find yourself in the Bucktown section of Chicago and have a hankering for homemade sausage, then you might want to check out Sterling Goss, the kind of old-time butcher that the Food Network is always celebrating.

Foursquare Adds Some “Magic” To Its Explore Functionality In iOS, And It’s A Completely Fresh Approach

4608460779_d6971dfeae_z

When Foursquare introduced the new web version of its “Explore” functionality for those who visit its homepage, we knew that something was up. This was absolutely the “new” Foursquare built on top of all the data that we’ve provided the service for years and years. You see, check-ins, tips and social connections tell many stories.

Today, the Foursquare iOS app got an update to tell you a new story — a list of places to go based on where you and your friends actually like to go. Until now, the Explore tab in the app sent you to a mix of places suggested by friends and their actions, along with what was close by. Now, there is a heavy focus on the places you’ve been to, but haven’t been back to in a while. It also adds a rating system between 1-10 based on interesting information everyone has pumped into the system.

Not only is this a new approach for Foursquare, but it’s also a direct shot at location-aware review-services like Yelp. In its blog post announcing the app update today, it mentions “star ratings” in a way that tells a story that they’re simply no longer enough to make a decision on where to go. Google agrees, which is why it recently changed its Google+ Local rating system. Where does this leave Yelp? We’ll soon find out, but don’t mistake this move as “competitive.” This is something completely fresh that puts Foursquare’s offering in another league.

Here’s what Foursquare had to say about the new approach:

Now when you search for somewhere to go in Explore, you’ll see a score from 1 to 10 next to the name of a place. It’s our way to give you a quick sense of how much people love it, and it’s a lot different from the other types of ratings you see today.

Instead of other sites where every place gets 3.5 stars, we come up with our scores using the same Foursquare magic that powers Explore. We look at signals like tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide. And, with every check-in and Explore search, our scores will get smarter and better.

Here’s a look at what you can expect when you fire up Foursquare and tap Explore:

What you see above are the “reasons” why Foursquare decided to surface these two places, and it had to do with the fact that I frequent them or haven’t been there in quite a while. Couple that with the new rating system and how much my friends go, and we have a pretty awesome recommendation.

Below, you’ll see the actual numbers system, and all of these elements — been there a lot, friends there a lot, positive tips — means that these particular venues have been given a high rating. Close to a 10, actually:

These fresh ratings, which aren’t super secret nor super general, really help you dig into finding a spot to head to when you’re on the go. When I want coffee, I want good coffee. By knowing where I am at the moment, where I’ve been and where my friends have been, Foursquare is now the go-to app to get there quickly.

Investors might be skeptical about Foursquare, but as a user, I’m not. I get so much value from the service that I can’t even nail down how much time or money it has saved me over the years.

I don’t want to read through 500 reviews that are mis-spelled or submitted by overly-angry people like I find on other services. I want to trust the people I’ve chosen to be connected to, and I trust my patterns in the past. All of this historical data that we’ve given Foursquare is finally paying off. For us. The way it should be.

[Photo credit: Flickr]


Foursquare Adds Some “Magic” To Its Explore Functionality In iOS, And It’s A Completely Fresh Approach

4608460779_d6971dfeae_z

When Foursquare introduced the new web version of its “Explore” functionality for those who visit its homepage, we knew that something was up. This was absolutely the “new” Foursquare built on top of all the data that we’ve provided the service for years and years. You see, check-ins, tips and social connections tell many stories.

Today, the Foursquare iOS app got an update to tell you a new story — a list of places to go based on where you and your friends actually like to go. Until now, the Explore tab in the app sent you to a mix of places suggested by friends and their actions, along with what was close by. Now, there is a heavy focus on the places you’ve been to, but haven’t been back to in a while. It also adds a rating system between 1-10 based on interesting information everyone has pumped into the system.

Not only is this a new approach for Foursquare, but it’s also a direct shot at location-aware review services like Yelp. In its blog post announcing the app update today, it mentions “star ratings” in a way that suggests they’re simply no longer enough for users to make a decision about where to go. Google agrees, which is why it recently changed its Google+ Local rating system. Where does this leave Yelp? We’ll soon find out, but don’t mistake this move as “competitive.” This is something completely fresh that puts Foursquare’s offering in another league.

Here’s what Foursquare had to say about the new approach:

Now when you search for somewhere to go in Explore, you’ll see a score from 1 to 10 next to the name of a place. It’s our way to give you a quick sense of how much people love it, and it’s a lot different from the other types of ratings you see today.

Instead of other sites where every place gets 3.5 stars, we come up with our scores using the same Foursquare magic that powers Explore. We look at signals like tips, likes, dislikes, popularity, loyalty, local expertise, and nearly 3 billion check-ins from over 25 million people worldwide. And, with every check-in and Explore search, our scores will get smarter and better.

Here’s a look at what you can expect when you fire up Foursquare and tap Explore:

What you see above are the “reasons” why Foursquare decided to surface these two places, and it had to do with the fact that I frequent them or haven’t been there in quite a while. Couple that with the new rating system and how much my friends go, and we have a pretty awesome recommendation.

Below, you’ll see the actual numbers system, and all of these elements — been there a lot, friends there a lot, positive tips — means that these particular venues have been given a high rating. Close to a 10, actually:

These fresh ratings, which aren’t super secret nor super general, really help you dig into finding a spot to head to when you’re on the go. When I want coffee, I want good coffee. By knowing where I am at the moment, where I’ve been and where my friends have been, Foursquare is now the go-to app to get there quickly.

Investors might be skeptical about Foursquare, but as a user, I’m not. I get so much value from the service that I can’t even nail down how much time or money it has saved me over the years.

I don’t want to read through 500 reviews that are mis-spelled or submitted by overly-angry people like I find on other services. I want to trust the people I’ve chosen to be connected to, and I trust my patterns in the past. All of this historical data that we’ve given Foursquare is finally paying off. For us. The way it should be.

[Photo credit: Flickr]


Meet The New Foursquare, The One That You’ve Helped Build And Continue To Power

5295175015_07eac72d42_z

As I’ve said before, I’m an avid user of foursquare, and it has become the de facto service for me when it comes to finding new places to grab dinner or just chill out with a drink. I’ve been using the service since it launched in 2009, and I’ve found it to be a fun way to chronicle the vast world that I live in. One day, I will be able to show my kids the history of check-ins and information that I’ve built up on the service and they’ll get an idea of how wild my traveling days were. I really believe that, and that’s why I use it religiously.

I’m not sure if others use the service in the same way, but for those of you who really love checking in and leaving tips about venues on foursquare, your “hard work” has paid off. Today, the company has launched a new homepage experience for those people who aren’t logged in or signed up. It feels a bit like Google search, I think.

Have a look:

I’ve been chronicling foursquare’s movements as a company over the past few years, and everything that I’ve seen and that the company has said, is now becoming true.

All of your check-ins, tips, photos and social connections have now been turned into one of the most impressive location-based search and exploration experiences that the Web has ever seen. I don’t take those words lightly, so just know that I’m serious.

Huge. But Why?

This is a huge direction that the company is going in, and it’s not just a shot at Google and Yelp. Foursquare is creating its own unique space in the location vertical, and continues to redefine it and bring its users along for the ride. Why? Because we power the experience. We built the experience. As long as we keep using foursquare, the service will get better and better.

Most startups only think short-term about how much money they can raise, who will write about them and perhaps cashing out to the highest bidder. What foursquare has done is taken a pre-meditated slow-paced, highly advanced approach to building a world-class standalone service. Many have called foursquare a “feature, not a company” in the past.

All I can say now is, “Told you so.”

It’s not just the homepage, the “Explore” experience has been peppered throughout the site, and it’s awesome:

What this shift does for foursquare is open up brand new possibilities for monetization as well as draw in new people to install the app. The more people that use it, the better and more robust the service will get. It’s quite simple, actually.

I know that many have stayed away from foursquare for privacy reasons, but you can check-in without telling the world where you are. You can be choosey on which friends you connect with, and who sees where you are. If you take that approach, foursquare is your best friend. In a way, foursquare feels more “real” now as a company and business.

Nice work, Internet. You made foursquare, and foursquare is giving back with great tools. We’re all mayors today.

[Photo credit: Flickr]


Announcing The 2011 Crunchies Finalists And Tickets On Sale Now

Crunchie Award photo by Susan Hobbs

The nominations have been tabulated and the votes are in. Over 300,000 nominations were calculated across 20 categories. Along with our partners GigaOm and VentureBeat, we are very proud to announce the finalists for 2011′s best in technology. Voting begins now.

For 2011, we’ve added some new categories. Best Location App, Best Cloud Services and Biggest Social Impact join the Crunchies ranks this year. You’ll also find Best Social App, the NYC-dominated category of Best Shopping App, Best New Startup and the year’s best VC’s and Angel Investors. Newcomers like TaskRabbit’s Leah Busque and Keith Rabois for his angel investments (Airbnb, LinkedIn, Yammer, Path, YouTube) made the list of finalists, as well as industry favorites such as Marc Andreessen, Jack Dorsey, Mark Pincus and Ron Conway.

There are some pretty good match-ups this year. Google+ is up against Facebook Timeline for Best Social App, along with the New New Twitter, Instagram, and Path 2.0). The Kindle Fire is competing with the iPad 2 for Best New Device. And Pinterest, Turntable.fm, Nest, Fab, and Codecademy are all vying for Best New Startup (even though two of those were complete pivots). LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is up for Angel of the Year. His seed investment in Zynga is worth 160 times what he paid for it. But AngelList founders Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi are also finalists in the category for helping to democratize angel investing, along with Conway, Rabois, Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, and Kevin Rose (who has a killer portfolio that includes Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga, and Square). Who will win?

Everyone is eligible and encouraged to vote. The rules state that you may vote once per day, per award category, until voting closes on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 11:59pm PST. There are 20 award categories open for voting, recognizing the top accomplishments across a variety of fields and roles. If you are one of the finalists, create a badge and get your community excited about this honor and get them to vote for you. Winners will be announced on January 31, live at the Crunchies.

In addition to today’s announcement of the Finalists, we are happy to release our next batch of tickets through Eventbrite. The release begins now, so act fast and get them while you can.

Here are your Finalists:

Best Technology Achievement (2010 winner: Google Self Driving Cars)
Lytro
NFC
OnLive
Siri
Tesla Flat Pack Battery

Best Social Application (2010 winner: DailyBooth)
Facebook Timeline
Instagram
Google+
The New New Twitter
Path 2.0

Best Shopping Application (2010 winner: Groupon)
Birchbox
Fab
Gilt Groupe
Lot18
Warby Parker

Best Mobile Application (2010 winner: Google Mobile Maps for Android)
Evernote
Flipboard
Pandora
Spotify
Square
TaskRabbit

Best Location Application (New category for 2011)
Airbnb
Foursquare
Grindr
RunKeeper
Uber

Best Tablet Application (2010 winner: Flipboard)
djay
Eventbrite At the Door
Fotopedia
GarageBand
Netflix
StumbleUpon

Best Design (2010 winner: gogobot)
Gojee
Orchestra
Path 2.0
Pinterest
Quora

Best Bootstrapped Startup (2010 winner: addmired)
Github
Imgur
Instapaper
Onesheet
Tap Tap Tap (Camera+)

Best Cloud Service (New category for 2011)
Asana
Box
CloudFlare
Dropbox
Okta
Twilio

Best International Startup (2010 winner: Viki)
Badoo
Klarna
Peixe Urbano
Rovio
SoundCloud
Wonga

Best Clean Tech Startup (2010 winner: SolarCity)
Alta Energy
Array Power
EcoATM
EcoMotors
Hara

Best New Device (2010 winner: iPad)
Galaxy Nexus
iPad 2
iPhone 4S
Kindle Fire
Nest

Best Time Sink (2010 winner: Cityville)
Modern Warfare 3
Quora
Skyrim
Turntable.fm
Words With Friends

Biggest Social Impact (New category for 2011)
Charity: Water
Khan Academy
Kickstarter
Practice Fusion
Twitter

Angel of the Year (2010 winner: Paul Graham)
Ron Conway
Paul Graham
Reid Hoffman
Keith Rabois
Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi (AngelList)
Kevin Rose

VC of the Year (2010 winner: Yuri Milner)
Marc Andreessen & Ben Horowitz
Matt Cohler
Vinod Khosla
Aileen Lee
Yuri Milner
David Sze

Founder of the Year (2010 winner: Mark Pincus)
Leah Busque (Task Rabbit)
Brian Chesky (Airbnb)
Jack Dorsey (Square, Twitter)
Susan Feldman & Ali Pincus (One Kings Lane)
Drew Houston (Dropbox)

CEO of the Year (2010 winner: Andrew Mason)
Dick Costolo (Twitter)
Daniel Ek (Spotify)
Phil Libin (Evernote)
Mark Pincus (Zynga)
Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn)

Best New Startup of 2011 (2010 winner: Quora)
Codecademy
Fab
Nest
Pinterest
Turntable.fm

Best Overall Startup of 2011 (2010 winner: Twitter)
Dropbox
Instagram
Gilt Groupe
Spotify
Square
Tumblr

5th Annual Crunchies Awards
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA

7:30pm – midnight – Awards Ceremony and After Party
A night of celebration with festive attire.

Our sponsors help make the Crunchies happen, if you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities during the ceremony or after-party, please contact Jeanne Logozzo at jeanne@techcrunch.com.

For press credentials, please fill out this request form and confirmations will be sent separately via email.


Announcing The 2011 Crunchies Finalists And Tickets On Sale Now

Crunchie Award photo by Susan Hobbs

The nominations have been tabulated and the votes are in. Over 300,000 nominations were calculated across 20 categories. Along with our partners GigaOm and VentureBeat, we are very proud to announce the finalists for 2011′s best in technology. Voting begins now.

For 2011, we’ve added some new categories. Best Location App, Best Cloud Services and Biggest Social Impact join the Crunchies ranks this year. You’ll also find Best Social App, the NYC-dominated category of Best Shopping App, Best New Startup and the year’s best VC’s and Angel Investors. Newcomers like TaskRabbit’s Leah Busque and Keith Rabois for his angel investments (Airbnb, LinkedIn, Yammer, Path, YouTube) made the list of finalists, as well as industry favorites such as Marc Andreessen, Jack Dorsey, Mark Pincus and Ron Conway.

There are some pretty good match-ups this year. Google+ is up against Facebook Timeline for Best Social App, along with the New New Twitter, Instagram, and Path 2.0). The Kindle Fire is competing with the iPad 2 for Best New Device. And Pinterest, Turntable.fm, Nest, Fab, and Codecademy are all vying for Best New Startup (even though two of those were complete pivots). LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman is up for Angel of the Year. His seed investment in Zynga is worth 160 times what he paid for it. But AngelList founders Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi are also finalists in the category for helping to democratize angel investing, along with Conway, Rabois, Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, and Kevin Rose (who has a killer portfolio that includes Twitter, Foursquare, Zynga, and Square). Who will win?

Everyone is eligible and encouraged to vote. The rules state that you may vote once per day, per award category, until voting closes on Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 11:59pm PST. There are 20 award categories open for voting, recognizing the top accomplishments across a variety of fields and roles. If you are one of the finalists, create a badge and get your community excited about this honor and get them to vote for you. Winners will be announced on January 31, live at the Crunchies.

In addition to today’s announcement of the Finalists, we are happy to release our next batch of tickets through Eventbrite. The release begins now, so act fast and get them while you can.

Here are your Finalists:

Best Technology Achievement (2010 winner: Google Self Driving Cars)
Lytro
NFC
OnLive
Siri
Tesla Flat Pack Battery

Best Social Application (2010 winner: DailyBooth)
Facebook Timeline
Instagram
Google+
The New New Twitter
Path 2.0

Best Shopping Application (2010 winner: Groupon)
Birchbox
Fab
Gilt Groupe
Lot18
Warby Parker

Best Mobile Application (2010 winner: Google Mobile Maps for Android)
Evernote
Flipboard
Pandora
Spotify
Square
TaskRabbit

Best Location Application (New category for 2011)
Airbnb
Foursquare
Grindr
RunKeeper
Uber

Best Tablet Application (2010 winner: Flipboard)
djay
Eventbrite At the Door
Fotopedia
GarageBand
Netflix
StumbleUpon

Best Design (2010 winner: gogobot)
Gojee
Orchestra
Path 2.0
Pinterest
Quora

Best Bootstrapped Startup (2010 winner: addmired)
Github
Imgur
Instapaper
Onesheet
Tap Tap Tap (Camera+)

Best Cloud Service (New category for 2011)
Asana
Box
CloudFlare
Dropbox
Okta
Twilio

Best International Startup (2010 winner: Viki)
Badoo
Klarna
Peixe Urbano
Rovio
SoundCloud
Wonga

Best Clean Tech Startup (2010 winner: SolarCity)
Alta Energy
Array Power
EcoATM
EcoMotors
Hara

Best New Device (2010 winner: iPad)
Galaxy Nexus
iPad 2
iPhone 4S
Kindle Fire
Nest

Best Time Sink (2010 winner: Cityville)
Modern Warfare 3
Quora
Skyrim
Turntable.fm
Words With Friends

Biggest Social Impact (New category for 2011)
Charity: Water
Khan Academy
Kickstarter
Practice Fusion
Twitter

Angel of the Year (2010 winner: Paul Graham)
Ron Conway
Paul Graham
Reid Hoffman
Keith Rabois
Naval Ravikant and Babak Nivi (AngelList)
Kevin Rose

VC of the Year (2010 winner: Yuri Milner)
Marc Andreessen & Ben Horowitz
Matt Cohler
Vinod Khosla
Aileen Lee
Yuri Milner
David Sze

Founder of the Year (2010 winner: Mark Pincus)
Leah Busque (Task Rabbit)
Brian Chesky (Airbnb)
Jack Dorsey (Square, Twitter)
Susan Feldman & Ali Pincus (One Kings Lane)
Drew Houston (Dropbox)

CEO of the Year (2010 winner: Andrew Mason)
Dick Costolo (Twitter)
Daniel Ek (Spotify)
Phil Libin (Evernote)
Mark Pincus (Zynga)
Jeff Weiner (LinkedIn)

Best New Startup of 2011 (2010 winner: Quora)
Codecademy
Fab
Nest
Pinterest
Turntable.fm

Best Overall Startup of 2011 (2010 winner: Twitter)
Dropbox
Instagram
Gilt Groupe
Spotify
Square
Tumblr

5th Annual Crunchies Awards
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Louise M. Davies Symphony Hall
201 Van Ness Ave.
San Francisco, CA

7:30pm – midnight – Awards Ceremony and After Party
A night of celebration with festive attire.

Our sponsors help make the Crunchies happen, if you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities during the ceremony or after-party, please contact Jeanne Logozzo at jeanne@techcrunch.com.

For press credentials, please fill out this request form and confirmations will be sent separately via email.


15 visitors online now
9 guests, 6 bots, 0 members
Max visitors today: 21 at 10:34 am EDT
This month: 43 at 09-03-2014 08:52 am EDT
This year: 148 at 07-27-2014 06:26 am EDT
All time: 279 at 10-18-2013 05:24 am EDT
Get Adobe Flash player